Friday, August 03, 2001

Hearings set on tax boost


Butler residents can have their say

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Butler County residents will have a chance at two public hearings to express their opinions and ask questions about a proposed county sales tax increase.

        The county commissioners are considering enacting a half-cent sales tax increase for six years that would drop to a quarter-cent for four years.

        The sales tax increase would generate $129 million over 10 years. That money would be used for major road improvements, a fiber-optic network, Butler County Regional Airport expansion and other projects designed primarily to attract high-tech businesses with well-paying jobs.

        The hearings will be at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 30, and 7 p.m. Sept. 4, at a fourth-floor conference room in the Government Services Center, 315 High St., Hamilton.

        No date has been set for the commissioners' vote on the sales tax hike.

        Commissioners Mike Fox and Chuck Furmon support a sales tax increase, and Commissioner Courtney Combs hasn't decided yet. It takes only two votes to pass.

        But Mr. Fox said Thursday that he wants to listen to residents' views on this and could change his mind about the size and duration of the increase.

        “Nothing is really carved in stone,” he said.

        The proposed resolutions for a sales tax increase prohibit that money from being used for operating expenses.

        The commissioners developed a list of 31 projects that could receive money from the tax increase.

        The projects would require $139 million in county money and $159 million in federal, state and other non-county funds.

        The commissioners would assign priorities to the 31 projects and fund those the $129 million would cover, Mr. Fox said.

        The original project list had 22 projects.

        Projects added to the list issued Thursday by the commissioners include widening the Ohio 4 Bypass to four lanes, increasing county bridge replacement, widening Ohio 747 from Smith Road to Ohio 4, improving Ohio 73 at Jacksonburg Road and Ohio 503, and improving Liberty-Fairfield Road.

       



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